27 October 2016

"RPK" Overprinted Stamps of Cambodia

"RPK" overprints is an interesting and challenging area in post 1979 Cambodian philately.  Basic and yet valuable information regarding the status of "RPK" overprints is available in CIP #64, this blog entry is to offer a comprehensive list of basic stamps of the "RPK" overprints. 

Although veteran postal staffs have confirmed that the overprints did see commercial use in 1979/1980, the number of stamps officially overprinted "RPK" is uncertain, what now available to collectors is based on observation.  A total of 40 stamps and 1 souvenir sheet are recorded so far, here they are quoted in Michel catalogue numbers and the overprint ink colour is stated.  Your input is welcome to benefit all interested collectors and please stay alarm that forgeries exist (one update left out in the table below, Sc #253).

(click to enlarge)

28 July 2016

1991 Provincial Postage Meters

In 1991 Cambodia introduced postage meter (EMA) for the first time after the civil war (read my July 2009 blog entry on this).  Meter machines were installed in Phnom Penh Central Post Office and Daun Penh branch, according to Dr. Gale J. Raymond 's article in ICP #128.  It is found that later the same type of meter machines were available at other selected post office branches and provinces as well.

Above shows a specimen of the 1991 postage meter, the leftmost rectangular slogan box was dropped when the meter was put to use.

An official full list of post offices which actually used the 1991 type meter is unavailable, and information is scarce, so as a foundation for studies here is a list of geographic names appeared on meters reported by collectors so far:
        • Phnom Penh R.P.
        • Chbar Ampeou (Phnom Penh)
        • Daun Penh (Phnom Penh)
        • Olympic (Phnom Penh)
        • Banteay Meanchey
        • Battambang
        • Kandal
        • Kompong Cham
        • Siemreap Angkor

26 July 2016

Essen '84 Philatelic Cachet of Cambodia

After the re-establishment of postal system, in 1983 Cambodia started to have handstamp cachets marking international philatelic events.   Here is a cachet from May 1984, it celebrates the oldest international stamp fair of Germany - Briefmarken-Messe Essen.

Held from 26th - 31st May, Essen '84 is the 5th of the annual international stamp fair of Essen.  Cambodia was represented by COPREFIL, along with some of the client nations of the company.   A handstamp cachet was available at the spot for visitors to make their own souvenirs.

The cachet is inscribed "5eme Foire Internationale due timbre-poste POSTES KAMPUCHEA 26-31 Mai 84 messe", noted that almost all words are French except "messe" which is German for "fair". 

The cachet greatly resembles to the cachet of Cuba, after all they are both represented by the same agent.  A sample of the Cuban cachet is shown below, the only difference is the inscription.

Without surprise, the design of both cachets is based on the stamp fair logo:

21 June 2016

FDC-Look-Alike Private Covers

"Souvenir Covers of the World" collections produced by collectible companies receive some popularity among elementary collectors, popular themes include ships, pets, WWII and royal events.  While some of these covers have first day of issue cancellations or proper postal cancellations, some do not, collectors should be well alert of this.

British collectible company Bentham gives an illustrative case, this cover was produced for their "cats" series:

The cover features an oversize cachet on the left half, and a 1999 Cambodian postage stamp (Sc#1822) tied by a "1999 Cambodia Cats" "cancellation" on the top right corner.   The "cancellation" is not a postal cancellation of any kind, in fact it is a private made cachet, or a rubber stamp impression some people might call it, it is not even an official cachet from the Cambodia Post.  All 6 stamps of the set (Sc#1818-1823) have their corresponding souvenir covers by Bentham.

For comparison, the following is a cover from the same series, franked with an Antigua & Barbuda stamp (Sc#2014).  Notice the cancellation is a valid postmark.

13 June 2016

UNTAC Indonesian Contingent Cover

During the 1992-1993 United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) operation, Indonesia was one of the biggest contributors in terms of personnel.  Below is a 1993 cover sent from Phnom Penh to the Central Javan city Salatiga by a UNTAC Indonesian contingent member.  A 150r postage stamp (Sc#1259) tied by a 400r red ink meter fulfills 550r postage for Asian destinations.  There are two dates shown on the cover, the Phnom Penh Central Post Office date stamp gives 12-6-93, the hand written "18/6-93" between the addresses is probably the arrival date, so it was a 6-day travel.

The top left corner of the envelope has "KONTINGEN GARUDA XII" printed above the Indonesian coat of arms, national flag and UN emblem.  "Kontingen Garuda" is the Indonesian name for the Garuda Contingent, a peacekeeper group drawn from the Indonesian military to participate in UN peace keeping operations.  "Garuda" is a Hindu and Buddhist divinity, his image is used as the national symbol by Indonesia"XII" are Roman numerals for 12 to indicate that it is the 12th Garuda Contingent mission.

The return address on the left reveals the mail sender's identity.  He was a member of the "Garuda XII-C" battalion which stationed at the Phnom Penh UNTAC headquarters (the other Indonesian battalion stationed in Kampong Thom Province).  The word "Garuda" refers to the Garuda Contingent, while "XII-C" refers to the 12th contingent deployment C.  The Indonesian contingent had a total of four deployments in rotation to Cambodia, the first two, A and B were in 1992, while C and D in 1993.

8 May 2016

Golden-fronted Leafbird on Cambodian Stamp, Error?


Cambodia issued a set of 7v stamps in 1984 (Sc470-476) to honour birds which can be found in the country.  The 1r stamp depicts a golden-fronted leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons) standing on a flowering branch which looks very much like a Prunus blossom branch.

Golden-fronted leafbird is a species in the Chloropseidae family, it occurs across India and most part of Indochina, so it is a fauna of Cambodia.

Geographic range map of golden-fronted leafbird.
(source: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species)

Adult golden-fronted leafbird is described to have straight to lightly down-curved bills, green-bodied with a black face and throat bordered with yellow.  It has an orange forehead and blue moustachial line. Below is a maximum card of the 1r stamp tied by a 1985 Phnom Penh Central Post Office cancellation:

While the stamp illustration shows a golden-fronted leafbird, the inscription has a non corresponding species name.  On the right of the stamp it says "Chloropsis aurifrons inornata Kloss", one of the 6 Chloropsis aurifrons subspecies.  Chloropsis aurifrons inornata Kloss differs from Chloropsis aurifrons in having less orange on the forehead and practically no golden collar.  This subspecies habits in central and eastern Thailand, Cambodia and southern Viet Nam.

Chloropsis aurifrons inornata Kloss has no golden collar.
(Photographer: Parinya Padungtin)